Sixteen years of film criticism from one of America's leading cultural critics. Castaways of the Image Planet collects sixteen years' worth of Geoffrey O'Brien's essays on film and popular culture, most originally published in The New York Review of Books, The New Republic, Film Comment, Filmmaker, and the New York Times. The topics range from the invention of cinema to contemporary F-X aesthetics; from Shakespeare films to "Seinfeld"; from '30's screwball comedies to Hong Kong martial-arts movies; from the roots of sexploitation pictures to the televising of Bill Clinton's grand jury testimony. There is an emphasis on the unpredictable interactions between film as a medium apt for expressing the most private dreams and film as the mass literature of the modern world, subject to all the pressures of financing and marketing. Many of the pieces are profiles of individual directors or actors--Orson Welles, Michael Powell, Ed Wood, Marlon Brando, Alfred Hitchcock, Dana Andrews, The Marx Brothers, Bing Crosby--whose careers are probed to look for the point where private obsession meets public myth-making.